Who among us real boaters has never yearned for a getaway cottage overlooking a bay, ocean, lake, river, creek, cove or even a mere goldfish pond? A simple kind of weekend hunting cabin with a wood cookstove to knock down a chill, some oil and kerosene lamps to set a mood, a padded rocking chair, and a comfy bunk with a bedroll would do nicely.
What a difference eight years makes in the life of a 12-year-old — in this case my only grandchild, Claire, who will inherit my 1962 Sailmaster 22C, along with a trust fund targeted specifically for boat maintenance, after I give up sailing at age 100. (Oh, what a lucky little girl!)
I have been following the rousing adventures of sailing writer Angus Phillips for more than 35 years, mostly during his stint as the outdoors editor of The Washington Post from the mid-1970s until his retirement in 2010. I have also sailed casually with and against him, and struggled to compete with him while covering America’s Cup regattas in Newport, R.I., in 1980 and 1983 for different newspapers. And as a non-angler I even read his well-spun tales of “feeeshing.”
A classic Chesapeake motor cruiser quietly made her 50th anniversary homecoming pilgrimage in June to her humble place of origin, an equally classic boatyard and “home for Neptune’s Darlings” on Maryland’s middle Eastern Shore. The 40-footer was designed and built by the legendary Ralph Wiley, who named her Sweet and Low (for reasons of his own), and she was launched in 1963.
You’ll recall that during my 42-mile solo cruise under power late last September I was returning from the Sassafras River to Annapolis when my boat sprung a major leak. I traced the problem to the outboard well as best I could, specifically to the engine-mount area, where visible cracks had developed in the corners.
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Jack has been cruising Chesapeake Bay and writing about the region for more than 25 years. His critically acclaimed book, "Maryland's Vanishing Lives," was published by Baltimore's Johns Hopkins University Press and is now in its second printing. Before joining Soundings, Jack was a feature writer at the Washington (D.C.) Star for nearly 20 years and a senior editor at Chesapeake Bay magazine from 1995 to 1998. His monthly Bay Tripper column focuses on the Chesapeake.